Inspired By Entertaining a Queen

I have been reading a book by Stacy Schiff on Queen Cleopatra.  I am sure that this shocks you, dear reader, not at all.  Every night, as I unwind with Patty Cakes (dear puppy of mine,) snuggled on the couch, I enter Cleo’s world of beauty, seduction and power – and I am totally transported. Of course, because I take every inspiration and morph it into something that I can use for my fabulous clients, I have been thinking quite seriously about how I would entertain Queen Cleopatra, if given the chance.

Here’s what I have come up with.

It’s not necessarily about grandeur, but instead about re-invention.  Anyone can figure out how to bathe a table in 24 karat gold or design a menu featuring the world’s rarest foods.  But, I think that would bore Cleo. She’d seen it all before.  The real prize goes to the person who manages to take something perfectly ordinary and re-cast it as something new and fresh and alive.

This is what inspires me.

I always like to tell a story when I plan a party – and if one of the elements of the event doesn’t support the story that is being told, then it goes. At a wedding, at a residential event, at a corporate event — will the story be impact-full and stuff of legends or a mere meal, forgotten?  We simply can’t have the latter.

A Golden Egg

I think that Cleopatra would be impressed with our “golden” scrambled eggs at Entertaining Company.  We carefully paint our eggshells with luminous gold and fill them with delicately scrambled eggs that are silky and rich.  Served with a croissant and a cup a coffee, anyone would feel like a Queen if this appeared in front of them.  And, it is a beautiful re-imagining of the eggs and typical breakfast meeting danish.

Cleo would most definitely be very careful about place settings.  Her guests were politicians and figures in business.  It must’ve been imperative that the right guests were seated properly.  How else could dear Cleo ever pull off the Roman Civil War?  In a pinch, these stone place settings, with beautiful iridescent calligraphy, literally “sets in stone” where your guests are to be seated.  They are simple, unexpected and inexpensive.

A Place Setting Set in Stone

Cleopatra lived in a time when imbibing was a major escape from the trials of the day.  That said, I suppose we do too.  A signature cocktail is a lovely way to start off a social event, but these cocktails, can get things off to a too-spirited start and make the rest of the evening a little rambunctious.  How to make sure that everyone has a little something to eat with that first cocktail on an empty stomach?  Make an hors d’oeuvre into a garnish.

Makki and Vodka

I love these clean vodka cocktails, garnished with colorful makki rolls.  They’re beautiful, thoughtful and ornate while also being practical.   And, Cleopatra was nothing if not practical.These are just a few examples of taking the ordinary and making it into something quite stunning with a little thought put towards story telling.  These simple touches make all of our events at Entertaining Company fit for royalty. There is no limit to how much impact can be made with a little bit of imagination.

Once I start, I cannot stop!  What about using a custom linen with sari edge to replace a tablecloth runner at an Indian-inspired feast!?  What about presenting guests with  lavender-scented warm towels, before the first course is sampled? Or using our mobile food cart instead of stationary buffet? IdeasIdeasIdeas.

Surprise and delight…the age-old goal of every host/hostess. Make even the humble gathering, superlative by taking the ordinary and giving it a little goose. Think about flavor, color, material, texture, pattern….when dreaming up a story for your party.  And, most of all, remain always-true to the poetic one-of-a-kind detail that will make your celebration a bold one.  Bold enough, even, for a Queen.